Growing up I was always told manners and etiquette are important for a young lady to have. I was expected to speak to my elders or members of authority in a polite, respectful manner while using proper English.
As I enter back into another professional career, I’ve noticed that society has seemingly become more rude, and less proper. Even my exchange of emails between professionals twice my age surprise me with how un-formal their verbiage is.
My encounter with a lack of manners from all generations has forced me to ask myself, Is society becoming more rude?
Perhaps people are not more rude than they were ten years ago, but rather the formality of how people interact today has changed. Slang is becoming more acceptable, and social media has engrained a level of casualness into our everyday conversations that we use to not use when at work, or with our superiors.
I’ve noticed very rarely do people say “you’re welcome” anymore. Even I am guilty of this. When a co-worker thanks me for doing something I habitually respond with “No problem.”
But this is a problem.
The lack of formality has caused me to accept ‘No problem’ as a new variation of ‘you’re welcome.’ Although this speech may seem harmless, it’s the first step in allowing myself to slowly start adopting a more casual way of speaking, which can in turn seem rude to some people.
Think about how many times a day you say the word ‘like’ in your sentences.
“He, like, said to me he would call me later, and I was like okay, but when, exactly?”
This filler word, a bad habit of mine, finds its way into so many sentences that it’s no wonder I feel the formality in daily conversation slowly dying .
But it’s not just the way conversation has altered. I’ve even noticed a lack of structure in email correspondence.
I was always taught to write to clients in a formal way. This is not only polite, but establishes professionalism between you and the client. And with only relying on typed words to carry on a conversation, formal writing allows for no confusion as to the tone of the email. In short, it helps make sure the email does not accidentally sound rude.
How many times do you see ‘yup’ as a response instead of ‘yes?’ Or no formal header addressing the person at the beginning of the email?
All these little short-cuts, to me, show how informal we are now with people we have never met.
Perhaps social media has created a more relaxed way of addressing people. Posts are written very conversationally, even to the point where basic grammar is non existent.
But it’s not just how we speak that suggests to me society is becoming more rude. It’s the way we act, too.
How often are you on your phone when out to lunch with a friend? Or maybe you have a friend who is always checking or writing emails during dinner dates.
Too often I’ve noticed people having a hard time maintaining eye contact with the person they’re speaking to. Even a nice, firm handshake seems to be dying out among our society.
So, is society becoming more rude? Maybe not a complete one-eighty from ten years ago, but has society become more relaxed with their speech? I think so.
What do you think? Let us know with your comments.